Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Morning Prayer -- On a Gloomy Morning

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
-- 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV)

Psalm 102
1 LORD, hear my prayer, and let my cry come before you;
hide not your face from me in the day of my trouble.
2 Incline your ear to me;
when I call, make haste to answer me,
3 For my days drift away like smoke,
and my bones are hot as burning coals.
4 My heart is smitten like grass and withered,
so that I forget to eat my bread.
5 Because of the voice of my groaning
I am but skin and bones.
6 I have become like a vulture in the wilderness,
like an owl among the ruins.
7 I lie awake and groan;
I am like a sparrow, lonely on a house-top.
8 My enemies revile me all day long,
and those who scoff at me have taken an oath against me.
9 For I have eaten ashes for bread
and mingled my drink with weeping.
10 Because of your indignation and wrath
you have lifted me up and thrown me away.
11 My days pass away like a shadow,
and I wither like the grass.
12 But you, O LORD, endure for ever,
and your Name from age to age.
13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to have mercy upon her;
indeed, the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants love her very rubble,
and are moved to pity even for her dust.

Lord, the event of the past few weeks lay heavy upon me. The pain of close friends and neighbors -- they somehow become my pain. There are people in this country who are going to freeze to death this year. There are those who I know who may starve to death. Where have we gone wrong?

Lord, when they came for you in the garden, you experienced the pain of the betrayer’s metaphorical knife in the back. Lord, he was someone you loved and I ask myself how could you bear it? I do not know why I feel this way; I feel I have been betrayed by my very society. Have mercy on me, even though what I experience is only a shadow of what you felt. Help me to forgive -- especially those who I love and are close to me. Keep me from participating in sin by giving me forbearance. Grant me the wisdom to find a way to repair or transcend these situations. Help me be a solution to the problem and not part of it.

Lord, I do not understand all the things that trouble me now. The economy, the vitriol I hear in the news; the sadness I feel over the deaths of complete strangers. Or are they strangers -- are they not my neighbors? Therefore I thank you for these problems, because it has brought your will into sharp focus, it has brought me closer to you and to others, and it teaches me my need for you -- it teaches me our nation's need for you. I ask for your grace to persevere in faith as long as this stress in our lives shall last. I ask for a light at the end of the tunnel; I as for hope. I ask for wisdom to know when and how to be helpful to others -- and how to ask for help when I need it. I hand it over to you, so that your will be done. Thank you for you loving care, which I know endures forever. Amen.

Walking in sunlight all of our journey;
Over the mountains, through the deep vale;
Jesus has said, "I'll never forsake you,"
Promise divine that never can fail.

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